Having worked in tourism for some years, I found there is a spectrum of visitors:
- at one end are those who arrive smiling and ready to enjoy their time away, whatever the distance, whatever the journey was like, and whatever problems may arise; they clean up after themselves and treat people with respect – lovely people to have around and most welcome;
- then there are the ones who are rude from the off, complaining about absolutely everything, making you wish their week would end and they’d just go away! What I used to find was that many families away on holiday were not the happiest, due to all sorts of interpersonal things outside anyone else’s control. What it is important to remember is that often the issue is with them, not with you or the service you are providing, but they do need to address their attitudes.
- finally, there is a wide range somewhere in between … generally polite and pleasant people who are, of course, very welcome to Cornwall and Devon.
Locals also need to be aware that visitors don’t know the area, they don’t always understand the tides, the parking, or the narrowness of certain streets, and can sometimes find themselves in difficulties. In such circumstances, we should help them however we can.
A couple of examples:
At the lovely end of the spectrum, Bude Sea Pool featured a photo of this family on their Facebook page. Fabulous visitors, they embraced the locality, supported local businesses/the local economy, and were great people to have around (heard from more than one source).
As we can see, they were very supportive of Bude’s Sea Pool (check out the hoodies) and donned a mask when needed. Smiling faces also very welcome. This is the kind of tourist we love. Thanks for visiting Bude. We hope you’ve had a fabulous time.
Fast forward to something far less good.
Cornwall Live has reported on a young lady who works for a holiday park elsewhere in Cornwall, who has taken to Facebook to express her concerns over her treatment at the hand of some visitors. I reiterate the some as many are lovely people who appreciate the Cornwall and the efforts being made for them.
The full story is here, but below is Beth’s letter which could apply to many people.
“A letter from a very defeated receptionist.
“Hi. I’m Beth and I’m a holiday park receptionist here in Cornwall.
“I am here to clear a few things up:
“1. YES, you are correct, without you and your custom I may very well be out of a job right now BUT you must remember that without us you would be without a holiday, it’s a two way street.
“2. NOWHERE is ‘IMMUNE’ to COVID-19. The amount of times I have been told by you that you’ve come down to Cornwall because we are immune to it and you just want a break from everything is absurd.
“3. SOCIAL DISTANCING STILL APPLIES. See the above point, we are not immune and we certainly do not have the capacity in our hospital for you to act like we are. For your own safety as well as ours, please try and keep your distance.
“4. WE ARE STILL HUMAN. This brings me to my main point. I have come home from what was a reasonably short and supposedly easy shift today feeling totally defeated and lost for words. We cannot control Covid. I am not the creator of the rules so please don’t belittle me and call me stupid, idiotic or a b*tch just because you have to book a slot for the swimming pool or need to wear a mask for a mere 5 minutes in the shop. You wouldn’t like it if I responded to you in the same way.
“5. Lastly, ENJOY YOUR STAY! Be grateful that in these times you have been lucky enough to travel and have a slight sense of normality in booking a holiday. For many people this is something they could only have wished for. We love having you here and are grateful that you are keeping our economy up and running and we thank you for it.
“BUT PLEASE. NEXT TIME YOU GO TO TAKE YOUR ANGER OUT ON A STAFF MEMBER ANYWHERE YOU GO. REMEMBER. WE ARE HUMANS TOO.”
The points she makes are all very valid: no one asked for Covid to happen, and people here are doing the best they can in a very tricky situation to provide a good holiday experience for visitors, while also safeguarding themselves, and their businesses/jobs.
‘Be Kind’ has become something of a cliche of late but generally, it works.
Feel free to share your story as a visitor or a local …